Welcome to college.
This Fall, the university is implementing a “parental notification” system for all undergraduates who are cited for misdemeanors in Isla Vista. This is in response to strong criticism from the outer community, Sheriff’s Dept., and university and parents themselves. (Not to mention that the insanity that is I.V. was noted in a recent issue of USA Today – and it had nothing to do with Attias). And although it may be hard to believe, some students themselves agree with this policy.
The purpose of the program is not for the university to be our substitute mommies during the school year. Believe me, most of the staff at UCSB or at the Sheriff’s Dept. don’t want to be parents to 17,000 undergrads. This program isn’t going to stop student drinking, nor does it want to – it’s merely an attempt to make drinking safe. In case some people haven’t noticed, I.V. hasn’t been the safest place to be lately.
Let’s review some statistics.
In UCSB alone: (From the Core Alcohol and Drug Survey, processed by the SIUC/Core Institute, Carbondale, Ill.)
* 40.5 percent of students have reported some form of public misconduct (such as trouble with the police, fighting/argument, DWI/DUI, vandalism) at least once during the past year as a result of drinking or drug use.
* 32 percent of students have reported experiencing some kind of serious personal problems (such as being suicidal, hurt or injured, sexually assaulted or trying unsuccessfully to stop using drugs or alcohol) at least once during the past year as a result of drinking or drug use.
On DP alone: (From a survey administered door-to-door to UCSB students living on Del Playa Drive at the end of Spring Quarter 2000. Prepared by Carmody Consulting through a grant by the County of Santa Barbara).
* 65 percent have had personal belongings stolen.
* 55 percent have had unwanted sexual advances.
* 33 percent have been pushed, hit, or assaulted.
* Yet, 84 percent agreed that they feel safe living on Del Playa.
And if you think these DP statistics are just those crazy SBCC students, think again. (From ASIPS Data, Santa Barbara County Sheriff for April 2000-April 2001):
* UCSB accounts for 30 percent of those arrested in Isla Vista.
* SBCC accounts for 14 percent.
* Other colleges, high schools and non-affiliated [[[non-affiliated whats?]]] make up the remaining 56 percent.
So its not exactly like parental notification is coming out of nowhere. Yeah, it may be a little pathetic to answer to mommy and daddy when you get busted, but it doesn’t seem like anything else is working. Students aren’t holding themselves accountable, and maybe facing the folks, who have most likely been holding you accountable for your actions for the last 18 plus years of your life, is the best way to make sure you don’t make the same mistake twice. According to I.V. Foot Patrol, one of the most common things that students who are arrested while intoxicated mention is “are you gonna call my parents?”
You may think this doesn’t pertain to you. But if you’re going out every Friday and Saturday to DP to get hammered, then maybe you should listen up. Or maybe you are a good student and you just binge every now and then (which may really mean every week or so – 62 percent of those UCSB students living on DP had binged three or more times in the past two weeks). But there are actually those kids who are at an open party on ocean side and can’t understand why a couple of half-sober people are trying to pull him off the side of the cliff. Instead of realizing that he could have a broken neck from falling, he’s calling them bitches. Is that what makes DP so fun? Or is it the trash and burnt couches that appeal to everyone? Or maybe it’s the piss-stained walls. Or maybe it’s the “friendly” guys you hardly know who are escorting you “back to your house” because you’re too drunk to walk there yourself, and you probably won’t remember them the next morning. You pick.
Now imagine being the Dean of Students, Yonie Harris. Lucky for her, when a drunk UCSB student falls off a cliff, she gets to be the one making a call to mom and dad, giving the university’s condolences. Imagine what that might be like, and then you know what it is to be an administrator at UCSB. What do you say when the parents ask, “Why aren’t you doing something about this?”
This is the university’s answer. If making the mistakes and facing the consequences is part of becoming an adult, then not too many people have grown up around here.
Elizabeth Van Dyke is a junior political science major, and Elizabeth Ozmar is a senior sociology major.